Renewables Revolt: Australians Refuse to Pay One Cent More for Wind & Solar

power-bill

Among the mantras that feature in wind industry propaganda is the line about Australians being all in favour of renewable energy.

That may well be.

However, the wind cult are having a hard time convincing the thousands of South Australians who are often left sitting freezing or boiling in the dark – whenever wind power output collapses on a routine, total and totally unpredictable basis – that its fleet of whirling wonders represents any kind of future, at all.

And now it seems that, despite the ‘love’ they are purported to have professed to pollsters, the vast majority of Australians are not prepared to pay one red cent more for that warm fuzzy feeling that is said to come from knowing that your fridge, air-conditioner and giant flatscreen TV is being run on either sunshine or breezes.

Newspoll: 45 per cent won’t pay more for energy renewables
The Australian
David Crowe and Sarah Martin
28 February 2017

Voters have rung the alarm on the hit to household budgets from a shift to renewable power, with 45 per cent declaring they should not pay a cent more to make the change, amid a furious political fight over energy security.

A special Newspoll conducted exclusively for The Australian also finds that 26 per cent of voters are only willing to pay $10 a month at the most for solar and wind power, sending a warning shot over ambitious renewable energy targets.

The poll comes as Malcolm Turnbull escalates his attack on Bill Shorten over Labor’s “aspiration” to generate half the nation’s electricity from renewables by 2030, with the government claiming Labor policy would add $400 a year to household bills.

But the Prime Minister is being challenged internally over the government’s policy to mandate 23.5 per cent renewable energy within three years; Tony Abbott is calling for the target to be scrapped to ease cost pressures on consumers.

With all sides in dispute over the impact of renewables on electricity prices and reliability, the government had a surprise boost yesterday when the Clean Energy Finance Corporate revealed a proposal for a new coal-fired power station.

The government’s green bank, charged with investing $10 billion in energy projects, told a Senate hearing that a private company was seeking a government subsidy to build a $1.2bn, 900-megawatt coal-fired station.

However, CEFC chief executive Oliver Yates told Senate estimates the agency had not seen “significant appetite” from the private sector to finance high-­efficiency, low-emissions coal generation. He also said that without major changes to CEFC’s investment mandate, the agency would be economically “challenged” by the future risk of a carbon price and unlikely to receive government support.

While Labor and the Greens believe voters want more wind and solar power to combat climate change, the Newspoll shows an overwhelming majority of voters are unwilling to pay a premium for the transition.

Asked how much more they would be willing to pay for renewables annually, 45 per cent said nothing, 26 per cent said $100 and 11 per cent said $300.

In Newspoll’s survey of 1682 voters from Thursday to Sunday, 4 per cent said they would pay $500 more annually for renewable power, 2 per cent backed a $1000 annual premium and 11 per cent were uncommitted.

Mr Turnbull claimed the Labor aspiration, which includes an emissions intensity scheme to put a price on carbon output from the electricity sector, was “utterly unrealistic” and would require a $48bn cost, based on public statements about the investment ­required to reach the goal.

“You see the train wreck that it produced in South Australia — that type of ideological approach to energy, the most expensive and the least reliable electricity,” the Prime Minister said.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg mocked Labor’s target during question time yesterday, contrasting differing opposition claims about whether it would need to legislate to reach its target.

Labor said last year there would be “legislation relating to the 2030 target of 50 per cent renewable ­energy generation” as part of its ­policy.

But Mr Shorten said last week the 50 per cent goal was not an extension of the existing RET: “It’s not something that we will need to legislate, because we are confident Australia will achieve it.”

Labor energy spokesman Mark Butler attacked the “misleading” government claims by pointing to the Australian Energy Market Commission conclusion that an emissions intensity scheme would save about $15bn over the next decade, compared to doing nothing to reduce emissions.

Mr Butler blamed rising power prices over the past decade on “very significant network investment in the poles and wires” across the country.

Scott Morrison dismissed Mr Abbott’s call to scrap the 23.5 per cent target, which is legislated and bipartisan. The Treasurer warned of a hit to investment from changing a policy set less than two years ago, raising sovereign risk issues.

The AEMC has warned of price rises in most parts of the country over the next two years, saying renewables and higher gas prices would contribute to this.

Australian Energy Council chief Matthew Warren said the industry was grappling with the true long-term cost of renewables.

“If you want to provide lower emissions generation, it will cost more,” he said.

The Australia Institute released a ReachTel poll yesterday showing 54.5 per cent of voters in the Queensland seat of Dawson — held by the Liberal National Party’s George Christensen — backed a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030. The poll did not ask about cost.
The Australian

empty-wallet1

Funny how it is that moral posturing and virtue signalling soon gives way when one’s own hard-earned currency is in play.

In last night’s post we talked about another wind cult paradox, namely the claim that, notwithstanding the need for massive and endless subsidies, wind power is ‘free’ and getting cheaper all the time.

The moral of the story about the boy who cried wolf is not that he told a lie, it’s that he told the same lie twice.

If your propaganda wing keeps pumping out the story that adding big volumes of wind power capacity to the grid (as has occurred in South Australia, Denmark and Germany, for example) will lower retail power bills, it becomes a little difficult to unscramble the PR egg when the reverse is the result.

South Australians, the Danes and Germans are in the top five when it comes to the highest retail power prices in the world.

Electricity-prices-europe

spot-price-sa-2017

Power prices matter at every level: economic, social and, increasingly in Australia, at the political level.

The results of the Newspoll provide the Federal government with the perfect opportunity to stop talking and start acting about the single biggest cause of Australia’s rocketing power prices: the Large-Scale RET.

Now that it is evident that 70% of Australians do not want to pay any more than $10 a month to support wind and solar (and 45% want to pay nothing), Malcolm Turnbull can get on and do what must be done: scrap the LRET now.

A policy which is destroying Australia’s once secure, reliable and affordable power supply (refer South Australia’s wind power disaster) and which Australians have no interest in paying for is hardly an election winner.

The Australian makes the point as well as any.

Energy debate provides an opportunity for Turnbull
The Australian
Editorial
28 February 2017

With Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott in open warfare and Newspoll providing only discouragement for the Coalition, it was no surprise the government tried to focus on energy policy yesterday.

The Prime Minister knows Labor’s plan to more than double the nation’s renewable energy target by 2030 would be a disaster for power costs and security.

High prices, blackouts and load-shedding in South Australia have provided a live example of what Bill Shorten’s plan might mean for the nation. Mr Turnbull has referred to Labor’s “ideological obsession” with renewable energy, promising a climate approach that is “technology-agnostic”.

Yet this is not the case under existing policy where renewables are subsidised to a mandatory share of 23 per cent of national electricity supply, meaning there will be further investment of about $10 billion over the next three years to increase clean generation by about half. So for now, and increasingly into the future, electricity will be less secure and more expensive than it otherwise would be because of the RET. It is just that Labor’s plan would make it even worse after 2020.

The Newspoll results published today — showing almost three quarters of consumers either want to pay no extra for renewables or less than $2 a week — bolster the Turnbull government’s argument. It claims that existing policies will add an average of $63 to annual bills which is too much for 45 per cent of Newspoll respondents and close to enough for a further 26 per cent. Labor’s plans will rile the majority.

Yet nothing in the Coalition’s current approach, aside from rhetoric, brings this stark policy difference to the fore. The current RET settings have bipartisan support.

This is why Mr Abbott’s suggestion to attempt to cap the RET makes policy and political sense; it would put a lid on the single most disruptive force in the national energy market as well as bring on the political debate. It would also demand explanations about how or whether Australia would meet its Paris carbon emissions reductions target. This would be timely given doubts about the US approach under Donald Trump.

Mr Shorten is shamelessly doing all he can to create a fight over penalty rates despite the major parties having a similar approach on the issue until the Fair Work Commission handed down its findings last week. Not only did Labor establish the FWC and demand it conduct reviews of penalty rates but Mr Shorten repeatedly said he would abide by its decisions. Not any more — Mr Shorten and Labor have moved to put up a bill to override the decision.

This is pure politics. For all the hypocrisy of the Opposition Leader’s move (as a union leader he traded away penalty rates to companies that donated to his union) he has chosen a fight on his preferred ground. No matter what it means for business and jobs growth, Labor is placing itself on the side of protecting existing pay rates and blaming the Coalition for wage cuts. This will be a powerful argument for Labor all the way till the election. It also shows the Coalition a bit about product differentiation.

Recent days have shown the Prime Minister must do better even just to pacify his own team. He needs to set the agenda and concentrate the debate on Coalition strengths, which happen to be some of the highest national priorities: budget repair and welfare, taxation and federation reform. Instead of endless compromises made in negotiating away contentious issues, it might be time Mr Turnbull and his government became more ambitious and gave the nation the serious policy debates it requires.
The Australian

XXX at Parliament House on September 14, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. Malcolm Turnbull announced this morning he would be challenging Tony Abbott for the Liberal Party leadership.

No better time for Malcolm to get a grip on the politics of power.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. John McKerral says:

    It seems to me that stopping the RET as it stands will not help SA much. The RET insists that renewable generated electricity is used in preference that from other sources. Consequently they can have no stable, reliable supply. Also the RET requires RECs be paid to renewables generators driving up the cost of electricity.
    Subsidizing new generation coal-fired generators will only make it more expensive, won’t it? They still won’t be able to provide cheap base-load electricity, will they?
    The despicable feed in tariff (FIT) should also, without doubt, be rescinded!
    Drastic action is needed!

  2. CraigAustin says:

    I think it is time for rate payers to start paying their electricity portion of their bill, only. Ignore the other add ons, in Ontario they cannot cut you off, especially if you are making partial payments. This might get things going in the right direction, making it illegal for the utilities to pay above market price for electricity, which would void all long term renewable contracts and scare the Green Vultures out of town.

  3. That Reachtel poll is rubbish (it is from The Australia Institute after all).
    They asked ‘Do you support or oppose a renewable energy target so that at least 50% of our national electricity comes from renewable energy sources by 2030?’ They did not give people a choice of a lower percentage. They surveyed 863 people out of a population of 151515 (2011 census). Somehow they managed to phone people very much not representative of the majority.
    Claiming that 48% of One Nation voters support a 50% RET is ridiculous.

  4. Jackie Rovensky says:

    If Turnbull did start to focus on ‘Coalition strengths, which happen to be some of the highest national priorities: budget repair and welfare, taxation…’ he would be well on the way to solving each of them if he got rid of the RET as a first step.
    All this bumf about how much more people are willing to pay, and the price of electricity to the end customer are a waste of time because we would be paying far more at the end of the line. A generalisation needs to be made taking into account costs and components that come before a commodity/product reaches you and me.
    Unlike the GST this will not be a fixed % figure but will depend on how much energy is used to provide the end product at each stage of production of the end product, with more added to create a profit.
    Will it take more electricity to create say steel fence posts, or maybe it could be more to produce a tin of paint, what about producing a locally grown cotton sheet or towel. The cotton has to be grown with pumped water, cut and prepared for spinning, then weaving, then cutting and sewing, not to forget the energy used for lighting and running a factory’s workers needs and of course the end sale where lights are used in store so people can see what they are buying, and the operation of the till – then of course you have the cost of paper used to package and provide a sales docket etc etc. The energy costs accumulate at every stage of production to sale.
    So it is not just a willing ness to pay $10 more on an electricity bill, its the ‘$10’ more at every stage of a produced item.
    There is discussion about load shedding and turning people home air conditioners down – well what if not everyone has the same temperature needs, what if someone is elderly or ill and feels the cold or heat severely. Such ideas are completely erroneous and lacking thought and/or logic.
    Those providing advice are in inward looking sitting in circular ‘ivory towers’ and are not capable of seeing things from a practical point of view.
    We need to do things differently, to start with we need to go back to base-load energy production and look at ways unreliable renewables can be used alongside the base-load production of our energy needs. Once that has been done then we can begin to look at more ways unreliable production can be used more effectively and in some areas it may even be able to take over if combined with other more reliable sources of energy storage and production, but it can never replace base-load production – not in a modern industrialised society.
    But firstly the Federal Government needs to get over the situation of the RET, and the Opposition needs to recognise they should not bring stagnation to our country by unrelentingly ignoring facts to prop up what is so obviously a failed program.

  5. John McKerral says:

    The RET should be rescinded entirely, not limited.
    No concern whatever was demonstrated by those involved in creating the RET or benefiting from it about the harm the RET would do to the existing electricity generators, the stability of the network or the users of that electricity.
    Why should we be concerned if some who have invested in these claimed renewable technologies may loose some money? They are harming the bulk of our population, are they not?
    Are they not making a load of money at our expense? Yes indeed and they have the added benefit of claiming to save the earth, as if that were necessary. It is just virtue signaling.
    Have you ever listened to anyone who has rooftop solar talk. I have yet to hear any of them mention any thing other than how much they are making/saving from it. So much for saving the planet! It is totally immoral that the governments should set up a system that takes money from the less well off to subsidise the well off as us the case with renewablels.
    A little honesty, surely is not too much to expect?
    John

    • John, we’re with you. But the realistic first prospect is to stop the clock now, allowing those in the game to continue, but preventing the argument about retrospective legislation and ‘sovereign’ risk from taking dominance.

      • david brooks says:

        Several years ago I heard Angus Taylor, the successor of Alby Schulz in the seat of Hume, suggest to a meeting of neighbours at Collector, NSW that the RET might be reduced to cover only existing wind farms but no further, in order to avoid charges of sovereign risk. People present, some already living with the Taralga Wind Farm or the Cullerin Wind Farm or facing the prospect of the Collector Wind Farm, were naturally disappointed with his view. Our response to him was, what about the situation of people already living with existing wind farms? He didn’t have much to say to that. Some people are getting sick, some have to sleep away from their homes several nights a week, some have left their homes altogether. Does all this not matter? And now the Coalition government will not even countenance this proposal, as made again recently by Tony Abbott.

        It seems to me that there is a real danger here that the state and federal governments will contrive some ramshackle solution to the power crisis, and stay silent about the complaints of wind farm neighbours. The media, even the Murdoch Press, are only interested in the power crisis.

        The noise and health complaints of neighbours have virtually disappeared from the media’s coverage. The Wind Farm Commissioner has proved to be a broken reed. In NSW the state government is intransigent. We need to keep the cross benchers and Senator Back in the Senate well informed, so that they can make a noise on our behalf. They are the only ones who are on our side.

        Alby Schulz, if you remember, stood up in the federal parliament, and called wind energy “government sponsored fraud”. We need politicians who will not forget the needs of ordinary citizens.

      • David, STT holds great sympathy for all those suffering from wind turbine noise effects. However, we are focussing on the diabolical effect the LRET and wind power is having on power prices and grid stability (ie South Australia) because we do not want the suffering you and countless others experience to be foisted on anyone else.

        If the LRET is capped (or better still scrapped) then the extent will be limited, rather than causing hatred, havoc and suffering in many, many more communities like Gullen Range.

        If that much is achieved (and it is achievable) then the number of affected communities that will need to litigate to assert their rights will be fewer; and the number of people affected less.

        We agree that the media have been silent of late on the noise/health issue; but there was never that much coverage in the mainstream press. What often occurred was that The Australian might run a decent piece, but the ABC/Guardian/Fairfax would trot out Simon Chapman and nonsense ‘findings’ from the NHMRC’s non-research. There is a solid block of inner city greens that are quick to swallow that rubbish and join in the ridicule.

        If the LRET goes, and the industry is stopped in its tracks, for the reasons above, we expect more moderate and reasonable people to listen more intently to those suffering from noise impacts. Already the level of good faith accorded the wind industry has waned because people are now acutely aware of the cost and pointlessness of wind power. The sympathies have turned; in SA there is a growing body of people who are outright hostile to the wind industry who are not impacted, but for their power bills and blackouts.

        The mood is ripe for substantial change. STT will keep trying to live up to its name. And will will not forget those in your position. Keep fighting. We will prevail.

  6. Why not make payment voluntary; then all those that say they want to pay can.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: